Mrs Portly's Kitchen

A Suffolk Aga Saga

Spicy Lamb with Aubergines and Couscous

Image of pomegranates, whole and sliced

I am a big fan of Yotam Ottolenghi. I always liked eating his imaginative Middle Eastern-inspired food in his restaurants when I lived in London and now I often cook from his books at home.

I can honestly say I have never cooked one of his dishes which wasn’t a) delicious and b) didn’t work perfectly first time. They also look really beautiful – who can resist a scattering of jewelled pomegranate seeds?

Cooking for a family get-together the other day, we had spicy lamb chops rubbed with ras el hanout, seasoned with salt and pepper and then grilled until pink and juicy.

We served them with the following two dishes from his first book, Ottolenghi: The Cookbookwritten with Sami Tamimi.

Image of aubergines in a basket

One word of warning before we start: once upon a time cooks were told to salt aubergines (eggplants)  to take away any bitterness in the fruit.

These days the bitterness has mostly been bred out of the varieties on sale and most people don’t bother.

But having ruined a dish recently by not salting a home-grown aubergine that turned out to be vilely bitter, I now do it as a matter of course.

Image of salted aubergine wedges

Just cut them up as directed in the recipe, put them in a colander and sprinkle them with salt. Leave until you see beads of moisture on the fruit, then rinse and pat dry in a clean tea towel.

The other advantage to this method is that the aubergines don’t suck up as much oil in the cooking process.

Roasted Aubergine with Saffron Yoghurt

Image of aubergine salad

Ingredients:

3 medium aubergines, cut into slices 2cm thick or into wedges

Olive oil for brushing

2 tsp toasted pine nuts

A handful of pomegranate seeds

20 basil leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the saffron yoghurt:

A small pinch of saffron strands

3 tbsp hot water

180g Greek yoghurt

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp olive oil

Image of aubergine salad

Method:

For the sauce, infuse the saffron in the hot water in a small bowl for five minutes.

Pour the infusion into a bowl containing the yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and some salt.

Whisk well to get a smooth, golden sauce. Taste and adjust the salt, if necessary, then refrigerate. This will keep in the fridge for up to three days.

Preheat the oven to 425F/220C/Gas 7. Put the aubergine wedges on a roasting tray, brush with plenty of olive oil on both sides and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 20-35 minutes, until the slices are a golden brown. Let them cool down. The aubergines will keep in the fridge for up to three days too – just bring them to room temperature before serving.

To serve, arrange the aubergine slices on a large plate, slightly overlapping. Drizzle the saffron yoghurt over them, sprinkle with the pine nuts and pomegranate seeds and strew with the basil leaves.

Couscous and Mograbiah with Mi-cuit Tomatoes

Image of couscous and mograbiah dish

Mograbiah is a large variety of couscous, widely available now in supermarkets in the UK. If you can’t get it you can use fregola, the Sardinian equivalent, available at some Italian delis. Or double up on the ordinary coucscous but you’d be losing out in terms of texture.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe gives a method for oven-drying tomatoes. I used some I’d dried at home previously and stored in olive oil. You could use the mi-cuit, or semi-dried, tomatoes available in jars if you want to take a shortcut.

He serves this dish topped with 100g of labneh, a soft Arabic cheese made from strained yoghurt, but as we were eating it with lamb I skipped this ingredient.

Ingredients:

16 large, ripe plum tomatoes, halved lengthways

2 tbsp muscovado sugar

150 ml olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 onions, sliced thinly

250 g mograbiah

400 ml chicken or vegetable stock

A pinch of saffron strands

250 g couscous

1 tbsp picked tarragon leaves

1 tbsp nigella (kalongi) seeds

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Image of couscous and mograbiah dish

Method:

Preheat the oven to 300F/150C/Gas 2. Arrange the tomato halves skin-side down on a baking tray, and sprinkle with the sugar, 2 tbsp of the olive oil, plus the balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper. Bake in the oven for two hours or until the tomatoes have lost most of their moisture.

Meanwhile, put the onions in a large pan with 4 tbsp of the olive oil and saute over a high heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are coloured a dark gold.

Cook the mograbiah in a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer until it is cooked but still has bite – check the instructions on your packet as cooking times vary. Drain well and rinse under cold water.

Image of mograbiah draining in a sieve

In a separate pot bring the stock to the boil with the saffron and a little salt. Place the couscous in a large bowl, add 3 tbsp of the olive oil and the boiling stock. Cover with cling film and leave for 10 minutes.

Once ready, stir the couscous with a fork to fluff it up and get rid of any lumps. Add the cooked mograbiah, the tarragon and half of the nigella seeds. Taste and adjust the seasoning and oil. It may need a fair amount of salt.

Place in a serving dish and drizzle with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the rest of the nigella seeds.  This is meant to be eaten at room temperature but I served it warm and it was excellent.

Image of spicy lamb chops with aubergine salad and couscous

I really need to work on my presentation skills

5 comments on “Spicy Lamb with Aubergines and Couscous

  1. Karon Sanders
    October 4, 2013

    Fantastic once again.

  2. Conor Bofin
    October 4, 2013

    I like it! It’s a style of cooking that I need to explore. All part of the journey.
    Best,
    Conor

  3. Pingback: Stuffed Breast of Lamb Middle Eastern-Style | Mrs Portly's Kitchen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Gourmandistan

A fabled land of farmers, farm shares, fancy (and not so fancy) restaurants, family meals, food projects and more.

Savoury Image

Inspired by food, travel and photography

ediblethings

Finding, Farming and Feasting on Food.

Bangers & Mash

Family food adventures - because it's fun to play with your food

chef mimi blog

So Much Food. So Little Time.

The Slow Dough Bakery

Artisan bread and pastries made in Suffolk

flippenblog's Blog

Now that is exactly the question. What is this flippen blog about? I am like a crow. If it shines, I like it. If it is pretty, I like it. If I can eat it, even better!

One Man's Meat

My food blog - written in Dublin, Ireland

The Red Chef's Recipes

Enjoy your food with my radical recipes.

Sciapod Dairy Diary

for the love of cheese

Expat Chef in Barcelona

From my kitchen to yours

The Catalan Food and Wine Company

Bringing the best Catalan Food and Wine to the UK

The Garum Factory

Great food, real life

Fromage Homage

A British Isles Cheese Odyssey

from the Bartolini kitchens

"Mangia e statti zitto!"

Sinfully Tempting

- Food so good, you won't be able to resist!

The Paddington Foodie

Food That Makes Me Smile

eggton

{salty wit + a sweet tooth}

My French Heaven

FOOD, PHOTOGRAPHY & JOIE DE VIVRE IN BORDEAUX, FRANCE

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 240 other followers

%d bloggers like this: